Labor and Employment Law Overview: Kansas

Labor and Employment Law Overview requirements for other states

Federal law and guidance on this subject should be reviewed together with this section.

Author: XpertHR Editorial Team

Summary

  • State law prohibits an employer from discriminating and retaliating against employees in a variety of protected classes. Employers must also provide equal pay. See EEO, Diversity and Employee Relations.
  • Kansas permits preemployment credit and criminal history checks. See Recruiting and Hiring.
  • In Kansas, there are requirements relating to the minimum wage, overtime and child labor. See Wage and Hour.
  • Kansas has laws that relate to employee pay and benefits, including health care continuation, payment of wages, pay frequency, pay statements and wage deductions. See Pay and Benefits.
  • Under Kansas law, employees are entitled to certain leaves or time off, including maternity leave, voting leave, military leave, jury duty leave, domestic violence leave and emergency responder leave. See Time Off and Leaves of Absence.
  • Kansas prohibits smoking in the workplace and texting while driving, and allows employers to prohibit weapons in the workplace but not in company parking lots. See Health and Safety.
  • When employment ends, Kansas employers must comply with applicable final pay and job reference requirements. See Organizational Exit.

Introduction to Employment Law in Kansas

Kansas has laws that provide greater protections to employees than federal law, including antidiscrimination requirements and health care continuation coverage obligations for smaller employers, but generally follows federal law with respect to topics such as the minimum wage and occupational safety.

Select Kansas employment requirements are summarized below to help an employer understand the range of employment laws affecting the employer-employee relationship in the state. An employer must comply with both federal and state law.

An employer must also comply with applicable municipal law obligations affecting the employment relationship, in addition to complying with state and federal requirements.

EEO, Diversity and Employee Relations

Key Kansas requirements impacting EEO, diversity and employee relations are:

Fair Employment Practices

The Kansas Act Against Discrimination (KAAD) and the Kansas Age Discrimination in Employment Act (KADEA) prohibit employers with four or more employees from discriminating based on protected characteristics, including:

  • Race;
  • Religion;
  • Color;
  • Sex;
  • Disability;
  • National origin;
  • Ancestry; and
  • Age.

In addition, the KAAD and KADEA prohibit retaliation against an individual who has opposed discrimination, filed a complaint or testified or assisted in a proceeding under the law.

Equal Pay

State law prohibits an employer from discriminating between employees within any establishment based on sex by paying wages at a rate less than the rate paid to employees of the opposite sex for equal work on jobs requiring equal skill, effort and responsibility, and performed under similar working conditions. An exception may be made if wage rates are based on:

  • A seniority system;
  • A merit system;
  • A system that measures earnings by quantity or quality of production; or
  • A factor other than sex.

Be aware that where there is overlap between federal, state and/or local law, complying with the law that offers the greatest rights or benefits to the employee will generally apply.

Additional information on EEO, diversity and employee relations practices in Kansas can be found in the Kansas Employee Handbook Table of Contents, EEO - Discrimination: Kansas, EEO - Harassment: Kansas, EEO - Retaliation: Kansas, Disabilities (ADA): Kansas, Kansas Workplace Labor and Employment Law Posters and Does This Law Apply to My Organization in Kansas? Federal requirements can be found in EEO - Discrimination: Federal, EEO - Harassment: Federal, EEO - Retaliation: Federal and Disabilities (ADA): Federal.

Recruiting and Hiring

Key Kansas requirements impacting recruiting and hiring are:

Credit Checks

The Kansas Fair Credit Reporting Act generally prohibits the reporting of old bankruptcies, suits or judgments, tax liens, collection accounts and arrests. However, this prohibition does not apply if the consumer credit report is to be used in connection with the employment of any individual whose annual salary is at least $20,000.

The law requires an employer to disclose to an applicant that an investigative consumer report has been sought and will be used for employment purposes. The employer must also advise the individual if an employment decision is based on information contained in the report and supply the name and address of the consumer reporting agency that supplied the report.

Criminal Checks

The Kansas Criminal History Record Information Statute prohibits an employer from requiring an individual to inspect or challenge his or her criminal history record for the purpose of obtaining a copy of the person's record in order to qualify for employment. However, an employer may require a job applicant or prospective independent contractor to sign a release allowing it to access the individual's criminal history record for purposes of determining fitness for employment.

An employer generally will not be liable for any employment decision based upon knowledge of an individual's criminal history if the information reasonably bears on the individual's trustworthiness or the safety or well-being of the company's employees or customers.

Be aware that where there is overlap between federal, state and/or local law, complying with the law that offers the greatest rights or benefits to the employee will generally apply.

Additional information on recruiting and hiring practices in Kansas can be found in Preemployment Screening and Testing: Kansas and Does This Law Apply to My Organization in Kansas? Federal requirements can be found in Preemployment Screening and Testing: Federal.

Wage and Hour

Key Kansas requirements impacting wages and hours are:

Minimum Wage

An employer that is not already covered by the federal Fair Labor Standards Act must pay its nonexempt employees a minimum wage of $7.25 per hour.

Overtime

Kansas law requires an employer to pay employees overtime for all hours worked in excess of 46 hours in a workweek. The state's 46-hour overtime threshold comes into play only when an employee is exempt from the federal overtime requirements but not from the state's overtime requirements.

Child Labor

Child labor laws in Kansas restrict the occupations in which minors may be employed and the number of hours and times during which they may work.

All minors are prohibited from working in hazardous occupations, and minors under the age of 16 are prohibited from working in a variety of other occupations, such as manufacturing and transportation. Child labor laws also list many occupations in which minors are actively permitted to engage, such as office and clerical work.

With some exceptions, children under the age of 16 may not work:

  • For more than eight hours in one calendar day;
  • For more than 40 hours in one workweek; or
  • Before 7 a.m. or after 10 p.m., except on any evening that does not precede a school day.

Be aware that where there is overlap between federal, state and/or local law, complying with the law that offers the greatest rights or benefits to the employee will generally apply.

Additional information on wage and hour practices in Kansas can be found in Minimum Wage: Kansas, Overtime: Kansas, Child Labor: Kansas, Kansas Workplace Labor and Employment Law Posters and Does This Law Apply to My Organization in Kansas? Federal requirements can be found in Minimum Wage: Federal, Overtime: Federal and Child Labor: Federal.

Pay and Benefits

Key Kansas requirements impacting pay and benefits are:

Health Care Continuation

Kansas group health policies issued to employers with two to 19 employees generally require that continuation coverage be extended to employees and their covered dependents whose coverage terminates, regardless of the reason for the termination. Continuation coverage may last for up to 18 months.

Payment of Wages

Under the Kansas Wage Payment Act, an employer must pay employees in cash or by check or draft that is negotiable in the community in which the workplace is located. An employer may pay wages by direct deposit or electronic paycards if certain conditions are met.

Pay Frequency

Employees must be paid on regular paydays designated in advance, occurring at least once each calendar month.

Pay Statements

An employer must provide each employee with an itemized statement showing deductions taken from the employee's wages covering each pay period in which the deductions were made. Employees have the right to request an itemized statement of deductions.

Wage Notices

Employees have the right to request written notification regarding the employee's rate of pay, payday and place of payment.

An employee may also request, through a posted notice in a place accessible to employees:

  • Any change to employees' pay rates, paydays and place of payment before making any of those changes; and
  • The employer's employment practices and policies regarding benefits that directly affect employees' wages, including vacation pay and sick leave.

Wage Deductions

An employer is generally prohibited from making deductions from employees' wages. Exceptions include deductions required by state or federal law, where the employee provides written authorization and certain contributions (e.g., retirement plan, charity, union dues).

Be aware that where there is overlap between federal, state and/or local law, complying with the law that offers the greatest rights or benefits to the employee will generally apply.

Additional information on pay and benefits practices in Kansas can be found in Health Care Continuation (COBRA): Kansas, Payment of Wages: Kansas, Involuntary and Voluntary Pay Deductions: Kansas and Does This Law Apply to My Organization in Kansas? Federal requirements can be found in Health Care Continuation (COBRA): Federal, Payment of Wages: Federal and Involuntary and Voluntary Pay Deductions: Federal.

Time Off and Leaves of Absence

Kansas has several laws relating to required time off and leaves of absence for employees. These laws include:

  • Maternity leave (covering employers with four or more employees);
  • Voting leave;
  • Military leave;
  • Jury duty leave;
  • Domestic violence leave; and
  • Emergency responder leave.

Be aware that where there is overlap between federal, state and/or local law, complying with the law that offers the greatest rights or benefits to the employee will generally apply.

Additional information on time off and leave of absence practices in Kansas can be found in the Kansas Employee Handbook Table of Contents, FMLA: Kansas, Jury Duty: Kansas, USERRA: Kansas, Other Leaves: Kansas and Does This Law Apply to My Organization in Kansas? Federal requirements can be found in FMLA: Federal, Jury Duty: Federal, USERRA: Federal and Other Leaves: Federal.

Health and Safety

Key Kansas requirements impacting health and safety are:

Smoke-Free Workplace

The Kansas Indoor Clean Air Act prohibits smoking in all places of employment. Limited exceptions apply. An employer is required to post signs stating that smoking is prohibited by law and is also required to adopt and maintain a written policy prohibiting smoking in the workplace.

Weapons in the Workplace

The Personal and Family Protection Act expressly permits an employer to restrict or prohibit employees from carrying a concealed weapon while on the employer's business premises or while engaged in the employee's employment duties. However, employees may store their firearms in their vehicles on the employer's property. An employer that prohibits carrying a concealed weapon must post a conspicuous sign prohibiting such activity.

Safe Driving Laws

Kansas prohibits all drivers from texting while driving. The state prohibits talking on a cell phone while driving only for drivers under the age of 18.

Be aware that where there is overlap between federal, state and/or local law, complying with the law that offers the greatest rights or benefits to the employee will generally apply.

Additional information on health and safety practices in Kansas can be found in the Kansas Employee Handbook Table of Contents, Employee Health: Kansas, HR and Workplace Safety: Kansas, Workplace Security: Kansas, Kansas Workplace Labor and Employment Law Posters and Does This Law Apply to My Organization in Kansas? Federal requirements can be found in Employee Health: Federal, HR and Workplace Safety (OSHA Compliance): Federal and Workplace Security: Federal.

Organizational Exit

Key Kansas requirements impacting organizational exit are:

Final Pay

An employee who resigns or is terminated must be paid no later than the next regular payday. The wages must be paid by the employer's regular payment methods or, if requested by the employee, by mail.

References

An employer may disclose to prospective employers the following information:

  • Date of employment;
  • Pay level;
  • Job description and duties; and
  • Wage history.

If an employer is responding in writing to a written request from a prospective employer, the employer is protected from civil liability for disclosing the following:

  • Written employee evaluations conducted prior to separation; and
  • Whether the employee was voluntarily or involuntarily separated from employment and the reason for the separation.

Be aware that where there is overlap between federal, state and/or local law, complying with the law that offers the greatest rights or benefits to the employee will generally apply.

Additional information on organizational exit practices in Kansas can be found in Payment of Wages: Kansas, Employee Communications: Kansas and Does This Law Apply to My Organization in Kansas? Federal requirements can be found in Payment of Wages: Federal and Employee Communications: Federal.